State of Golf in the U.S. on the next Real Sports




REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 208th edition debuts TUESDAY, JULY 22 (10:00 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO.

For up-to-the-minute updates about REAL SPORTS, follow on Twitter at @RealSportsHBO or join the conversation using #RealSports

Segments include:

*Overgrown Green. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the golf industry saw its popularity soar and business boom.  Thanks in part to superstar Tiger Woods, young and old alike were drawn to the sport like never before, as evidenced by strong TV ratings, raucous crowds, a retail explosion to sell new equipment, and most of all, a massive building boom that saw roughly 5,000 golf courses built over nearly two decades.

Most observers and industry executives agree that the bubble has officially burst. Over the last eight years, participation is down 20% nationwide and more courses have closed than opened in the U.S. annually. Industry leaders believe drastic measures are needed to ensure the future of the sport. Host Bryant Gumbel speaks with industry leaders, including Jack Nicklaus, the most decorated golfer of all time, and executive Mark King about the state of the sport and what innovations need to be embraced.

Producer: Nick Dolin.


Voiceover: Bridgewater is one of hundreds of courses nationwide that have gone belly up lately. On average, 130 American courses have closed every year for the last 8 years. And they’ve closed all over. From mid-western Michigan to the coast of California and from the tip of Florida to top of Minnesota.


Steve Ekovich, a realtor who specializes in golf course properties, says:  “There’s people that had this idea that build it and they will come. They didn’t come.”

Gumbel Voiceover: Call it the hangover after golf’s big party… after the boom years of the late 90s and early 2000s… when golf, thanks largely to Tiger Woods, was suddenly, for the first time in its ancient history actually hip and cool.

From 1986 to 2005, five thousand new golf courses were built in the United States.

GOLF LEGEND JACK NICKLAUS: “I was doing, you know, 20, 30 golf courses at a time.  And, yeah, it was a blast for us.  It was great fun. It was a great business.”

V/O: Jack Nicklaus is arguably golf’s greatest player of all time.

But as a golf course architect his income has dwarfed the money he made as a player…earning seven figure fees during those boom years every time he designed one of his signature courses.

JACK NICKLAUS: “It was kind of ridiculous. People were belonging to ten, 12, 15 clubs. Those days are gone.”

V/O: It all turned for the worse about 7 years ago. The US economy tanked and then Tiger Woods went into a tailspin. Almost overnite, few Americans still wanted the golf life… and even fewer could afford it. As a result, it has come to this. Somewhere in America these days, a golf course closes every 48 hours.

JACK NICKLAUS: “Back in China I’ve got between 15 and 20 under construction.  Then another ten or 15 under planning.  I’ve got three under construction in Russia, a little bit in Brazil, in India.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “But in the United States?”

JACK NICKLAUS: [makes a zero with his finger]

BRYANT GUMBEL: “The mindset of the American public has changed. You know, when you and I were younger, I mean, that was what we aspired to…”

NICKLAUS: “It’s changed….”

GUMBEL: “…living on a golf course and being able to play. I’m not necessarily sure young people view their, their senior years that way.”

JACK NICKLAUS: “They don’t, they have no interest in that.”

MARK KING: “Every macro-indicator that we’ve been looking at for the past 20 years, rounds played, number of minorities playing, women coming into the game, all of these things that we’ve tracked, says that there’s less people playing. And the ones that are playing are playing less frequently.”

V/O: Mark King would prefer not to believe any of this. Because for the last 15 years, he’s been president of TaylorMade, one of golf’s leading manufacturers of clubs and equipment.


But as one of the most powerful men in the game, he can no longer afford to ignore the obvious. That even as the economy recovers, golf remains in a nosedive.


MARK KING: “Young people entering the game after high school, 18 to 30-year-old kids down 35% in the last ten years.  So I just don’t like where the game looks like it’s going. And it’s not in the right direction.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “Where’s it going?”

MARK KING: “I think it’s shrinking to the point where you are only going to have traditional people play and it’s going to be an elite game again.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “You and I both know that somewhere there are a lot of old white, fat cats who are going, ‘Fewer golfers?  Good.  Fewer minorities?  Good.  Fewer women?  Good.  Fewer kids?  Good?’ “

MARK KING:  “Yup, of course there are. But if you own a golf course, if you’re selling golf clubs, if you’re selling turf, if you’re employing people. It’s awful scary watching it go down.”

V/O: Just about every sector of the business is in trouble…retail is off by double digits for each of the last three years…and TV ratings for some of the game’s biggest tournaments have been in steady decline since 2012.

V/O: King dubbed his campaign, Hack Golf, and asked everyone to think outside the box. Way outside the box.


MARK KING: “One of the first ideas on Hack Golf was free beer.  Okay, now, now Bryant, that sounds ridiculous, okay…”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “Yes, it does….”

MARK KING: “…But I’ll tell you what.  Let’s take a municipal golf course.  And let’s say you said, ‘Green fees are $50, but there’s free beer every Saturday,’ what do you think that golf course would look like?”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “It’d look like something I don’t want to play.”

MARK KING: “It would be packed.”

V/O: Free beer is one thing but King also has bigger ideas –much bigger ideas.

MARK KING: “There it is, the future of golf: 15-inch cup.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “God Almighty.”

MARK KING: “So think about it though.  Think about a kid playing golf for the first time, and he is putting and he putts to the little tiny hole and it take him four putts from four feet and here he hits his first one from eight feet.  It’s a different experience.  It’s a different experience.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “Yeah but, the game is about dealing with the frustration.”

MARK KING: “It’s still frustrating.  Now, I wanted to make it 25 inches, but they said, ‘No, just make it 15.’ “

V/O: Three and half times the size of a regular hole, King claims the 15-inch holes make the game faster, shaving an hour off the average round of golf. The result, he says, is a more accessible game, for more people.

BRYANT GUMBEL: “I must say, it is more fun.” [laughs]

MARK KING: “That’s what it is. It’s fun.”

V/O: To test his theory that bigger holes lead to more fun, King’s company, TaylorMade, is having 15-inch cups installed at more than 100 courses around the country this summer. But if purists think pizza pie sized holes are somehow sacrilegious, imagine what those purists think of this:

BRYANT GUMBEL: Let me read you a quote from Curtis Strange.  I’m sure you’ve seen it.  He says quote, ‘I don’t wanna rig the game and cheapen it.  I don’t like any of that stuff.  And it’s not gonna happen either.’  It’s all talk?”

MARK KING:  “That’s one man’s opinion.  And Curtis Strange was a factor in golf 20 years ago. But there’s a theme to who’s hanging onto the old and who’s moving to the new. So if we don’t do any of this we’re gonna end up with a bunch of Curtis Stranges playing golf by themselves on a Saturday morning enjoying the great history of the game.”

GUMBEL: “Is the game of golf too hard for this generation, an immediate gratification generation?”

JACK NICKLAUS: “Yeah, I think it probably is.  I don’t think there’s any question that the game is too hard.  The game needs, the game needs to be a game for the masses.  Everybody wants to play like Tiger Woods.  They can’t play like Tiger Woods. Tiger finds his ball every hole. (laugh) They don’t find the golf ball every hole. That is the problem.

BRYANT GUMBEL: So these somewhat crazy ideas that are being spawned by the problems of golf.  These have your blessing?  Big holes?”

JACK NICKLAUS: “What difference does it make if it brings people in and introduces them to the game?”

VO: And that’s all Mark King is trying to do with his grand experiment, which, he says, doesn’t have to succeed to be a success. He just wants to nudge a reluctant industry into a better future.


REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is available on multiple platforms, including HBO On Demand® and HBO GO®.

Other HBO playdates: July 22 (3:10 a.m.), 24 (8:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m.), 26 (midnight) and 30 (7:30 p.m., 1:30 a.m.), and Aug. 5 (4:15 p.m.) and 9 (10:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: July 25 (4:45 p.m.), 27 (1:25 p.m.) and 31 (8:00 a.m., 9:30 p.m.), and Aug. 2 (11:00 a.m.), 6 (2:05 a.m.), 12 (12:25 a.m.), 14 (11:00 a.m.) and 18 (1:55 p.m.)

Follow REAL SPORTS updates on and Immediately following the debut of this month’s show on July 22, log on to for a special overtime session hosted by Bryant Gumbel.

The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.


Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel returns June 24







REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 207th edition debuts TUESDAY, JUNE 24 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: June 26 (8:00 a.m., 1:45 a.m.), 28 (midnight) and 30 (5:15 p.m.), and July 2 (noon), 4 (10:00 a.m.), 7 (10:30 p.m.), 9 (5:00 p.m.), 10 (2:55 a.m.), 13 (11:00 a.m.) and 18 (2:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: June 26 (8:00 p.m.) and 29 (1:00 a.m.), and July 5 (9:45 a.m.), 11 (5:30 p.m.), 15 (8:00 a.m.), 17 (11:15 p.m.), 20 (12:45 p.m.) and 21 (1:50 p.m.)

HBO On Demand® availability: June 30-July 21

Segments include:

*Anatomy of a Fix. As the world focuses on soccer’s biggest stage, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, REAL SPORTS’ investigative team, led by host Bryant Gumbel, explores a global, match-fixing network that threatens the very legitimacy of the sport. At the center of the scandal are nearly 400 professional soccer games in Europe that are under suspicion of being fixed by players or referees who allegedly accepted money to influence the outcome of matches. Some of the matches occurred at high levels of the sport, such as Champions League contests in England and World Cup qualifying showdowns.

This elaborate, multi-continental network continues to stretch across oceans and soccer leagues. In preparing this report, REAL SPORTS traveled to: Italy, one of the cornerstones of the match-fixing scandal; the Far East, where many of the organized schemes are formed and funded; Berlin, to meet a convicted fixer who worked with an Asian syndicate to rig a World Cup qualifying match in 2009; and Lyon, France, where the lead investigator for Interpol attempts to track the worldwide fix.

Producers: Tim Walker, Josh Fine.

*Strawberry’s Redemption. There might not be a more notable fall from grace in baseball than Darryl Strawberry’s decline from stardom to drug addiction and financial ruin. Now 52, he’s still one of the most beloved New York baseball players ever, but when his best days on the diamond were behind him, his life took a turn for the worse. The four-time World Series champion battled drug addiction, served time in jail due to multiple arrests, lost all his career earnings and was diagnosed with colon cancer. Between doctors’ dire predictions and his deep depression, he was all but given up for dead.

To the surprise of many, Strawberry has made a remarkable turnaround. Out of the spotlight, he’s been sober for nearly a decade and his cancer is in remission. Leaving his baseball days in the past, the eight-time All Star is a happily married, ordained minister and the founder of a recovery center for sufferers of substance abuse. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg travels to Strawberry’s new home in St. Louis to discuss everything from the dark times to his extraordinary transformation.

Producer: Jason Samuels.

            *Hidden on the Sidelines. NFL cheerleaders are regarded by some as among the most glamorous women in sports. But outside the limelight are numerous allegations of financial exploitation and mistreatment. Five NFL teams – the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders – are all currently defendants in employment-law related lawsuits. REAL SPORTS correspondent Andrea Kremer speaks with a host of ex-cheerleaders, including former Oakland Raiderette Lacy T., whose lawsuit against her employer spawned four additional suits against four other teams, and former Buffalo Jills, who accuse that team of subjecting them to humiliating body examinations and personal hygiene rules.

Producer: Maggie Burbank.

*American Beauty. Host Bryant Gumbel revisits the interesting and often bizarre world of women’s bodybuilding. Although it’s virtually ignored by mainstream media, and offers significantly smaller financial incentives than those available to male counterparts, thousands of participants make a living from the sport, with many pushing boundaries to achieve the perfect physique. In an environment of obsessive workouts, round-the-clock fitness routines and even plastic surgery, performance enhancers often play a crucial and dangerous role in the physical development these women seek. For some in search of extra income, there’s also “muscle worship,” in which female bodybuilders allow male fans to massage and fetishize their bodies.

Producers: Nisreen Habbal, Tim Walker.

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons debuts August 5






HBO Sports, NFL Films and the Atlanta Falcons team up for an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League when HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE ATLANTA FALCONS debuts in August. The first sports-based reality series – and one of the fastest-turnaround programs on TV – kicks off its five-episode ninth season, presented in HD, TUESDAY, AUG. 5 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Other hour-long episodes debut subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, with an encore play Wednesday at 11:00 p.m., culminating in the Sept. 2 season finale.

“We are thrilled that the ninth edition of the HARD KNOCKS series will spotlight the Atlanta Falcons,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “It’s exciting to feature a team, a franchise and a city for the first time on HARD KNOCKS.  We are grateful to Coach Mike Smith and the entire organization for agreeing to participate and look forward to what we expect to be one of the most exciting seasons in HARD KNOCKS history. The series has become one of the few summertime programs that is truly appointment TV and we can’t wait for the premiere on August 5th.”

“We’re excited to work with the Atlanta Falcons and HBO Sports on HARD KNOCKS,” says Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films and NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting. “We want to thank Arthur Blank, Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and the entire Falcons’ organization for the trust they have in NFL FILMS by allowing us unprecedented access into their training camp.  The Falcons present numerous storylines with a veteran coaching staff, star players and newcomers all coming together to attempt to rise up back to the top of the NFC.”

The cinema verité series will focus on the daily lives and routines of playersand coachesas the Atlanta Falcons, who play in the talent-rich NFC South, conduct the franchise’s 49th training camp and prepare for the 2014 NFL season. HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE ATLANTA FALCONS will chronicle seventh-year head coach Mike Smith and an intriguing mix of high-profile veterans, emerging stars, free agents and rookie hopefuls throughout training camp and the four-game preseason schedule. Each week,players will experience drills, instruction, meetings and fun, while striving to prove they have what it takes to make the team and leave their mark on the NFL.  The Falcons have earned a postseason playoff berth in four of the six years that Smith has been at the helm.

“We are excited about the opportunity to give our fans a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to prepare an NFL team for the rigors of a 16-game regular season and beyond,” said Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur M. Blank. “This marks the first time that our franchise will be featured on HARD KNOCKS and we look forward to showcasing our great players and coaches to football fans all across America.”

A 30-person NFL Films crew will be at the Falcons’ training camp at team headquarters in Flowery Branch, GA, shooting more than 1,500 hours of footage over the course of the series. Camera and sound crews will have unencumbered access to the players’ and coaches’ meeting rooms, training rooms, living quarters and practice fields.

“We are looking forward to connecting with our fans across the country as the program chronicles our 2014 training camp,” said Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith. “The series will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the competition between players as we build our roster and prepare for the season. We are looking forward to the start of camp in late July.”

Two summers ago HARD KNOCKS moved its premiere night to Tuesday and the results have been a resounding success. The five-part series on the playoff-bound Cincinnati Bengals last August averaged 3.6 million viewers per episode.  No other sports reality series can match the critical acclaim, awards and audience numbers posted by the HARD KNOCKS franchise.

HARD KNOCKS launched with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, followed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2002. The series resumed in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs, winning a Sports Emmy®. In 2008, the series returned to the Dallas Cowboys, receiving a second Sports Emmy® for production excellence. In 2009, HARD KNOCKS spotlighted the Cincinnati Bengals and captured two more Sports Emmy® Awards, for Outstanding Edited Series/Anthology and Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound. In 2010, the New York Jets were featured and the series captured three Sports Emmys®, including Outstanding Edited Series/Anthology. The summer of 2012 spotlighted the Miami Dolphins, earning the franchise an eighth Sports Emmy®, in the category of Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound.  The Bengals were featured again in 2013 and the series captured three more Sports Emmys®, bringing to 11 the number of trophies awarded to the franchise for production excellence.  Last summer’s spotlight on the Bengals was recognized with the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Editing, Outstanding Music Composition/Direction/Lyrics and Outstanding Post Produced Audio/Sound.

Each of the last four teams featured on HARD KNOCKS has improved its won-loss record in the regular season that immediately follows the training camp presentation.

TimeMagazine called the show “riveting,” while hailed the series as “undoubtedly the greatest football program in the history of the television medium.” Business Week observed, “As a workplace drama, it ranks among the best on television,” and New York’s Daily News termed it “the gold standard of sports reality programming.” ESPNW wrote: “The return of the NFL season also means the return of one of the best shows on television, ‘Hard Knocks.’  This rare look at how any given moment can be the end of a season or even a career.” observed, “Hard Knocks is when it really feels like we’re getting football back in our lives.”

24/7 Cotto/Martinez debuts this Saturday





HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured 18 Sports Emmy® Awards, returns for its 20th boxing installment with 24/7 COTTO/MARTINEZ, debuting SATURDAY, MAY 31 (11:15-11:45 p.m. ET/PT). The behind-the-scenes series follows two elite fighters as they prepare for their blockbuster pay-per-view middleweight title showdown June 7 at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden.

Show # 1

Debut: SATURDAY, MAY 31 (11:15-11:45 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: June 1 (11:30 a.m.) 2 (8:00 p.m.), 3 (5:30 p.m., midnight), 4 (10:30 a.m., 3:15 a.m.), 6 (7:00 p.m.) and 7 (11:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: May 31 (2:45 a.m.) and June 1 (12:05 a.m.), 3 (9:00 p.m.), 6 (12:45 a.m.) and 7 (5:00 p.m.)

HBO On Demand® and HBO GO® availability begins: June 3

Miguel Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) works with renowned hall of fame trainer Freddy Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Cal., while Sergio Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) and trainer Pablo Sarmiento prepare for the highly anticipated matchup in Miami, Fla.

Episode two of 24/7 COTTO/MARTINEZ debuts Thursday, June 5 (8:30-9:00 p.m.), two nights before the high-stakes bout.

24/7 COTTO/MARTINEZ is also available on HBO Latino.

“Cotto vs. Martinez” takes place at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden on Saturday, June 7 at 9:00 p.m. (ET)/6:00 p.m. (PT), and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.

The executive producer of 24/7 COTTO/MARTINEZ is Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producer, Bentley Weiner; producer, Abtin Motia; writer, Aaron Cohen. Liev Schreiber narrates.

Froch vs. Groves II Live Saturday afternoon on HBO





American boxing fans can catch a highly anticipated UK rematch and a title fight from Macau when HBO BOXING AFTER DARK®: CARL FROCH VS. GEORGE GROVES II AND SIMPIWE VETYEKA VS. NONITO DONAIRE is seen SATURDAY, MAY 31 at 4:00 p.m. (ET/PT). The HBO Sports team will be calling both events, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.

Other HBO playdates: June 1 (8:30 a.m.) and 3 (1:00 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: June 1 (3:15 p.m.) and 2 (11:00 p.m.)

Just six months after their first encounter, two of the UK’s favorite sons, Carl Froch (32-2, 23 KOs) of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, and George Groves (19-1, 15 KOs) of Hammersmith, London, England, clash in a 12-round title rematch before more than 80,000 fansat iconic Wembley Stadium. Groves dominated the first eight rounds of their Nov. 2013 bout, and appeared well on his way to a unanimous decision, but Froch launched a tireless barrage of shots midway through the ninth in a dramatic turn of events. While the hurt yet gritty Groves remained on his feet, Froch’s attack compelled the referee to end the fight in controversial fashion. This highly charged 168-pound bout will air live on HBO at 4:45 p.m. (ET).

The action begins at 4:00 p.m. (ET/PT) with full same-day coverage of the scheduled 12-round featherweight title fight between challenger Nonito Donaire (32-2, 21 KOs) and titleholder Simpiwe Vetyeka (26-2, 16 KOs) from Cotai Arena atThe Venetian® Macao inMacau, China. In his season debut, Donaire, who has won titles in four divisions and was the sport’s 2012 Fighter of the Year, seeks a new crown. Insightful, thoughtful and engaging, Donaire, a native of the Philippines, now living in Las Vegas, started a new winning streak last fall on HBO with a ninth-round KO victory over Vic Darchinyan in their rematch. Vetyeka, of Mdantsane, South Africa, will be making the first defense of his 126-pound title.

Later that evening (11:15-11:45 p.m. ET/PT), HBO presents the first episode of “24/7 Cotto/Martinez,” the latest installment of the Emmy ®-winning series. The show profiles superstars Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez as they prepare for their June 7 blockbuster encounter on HBO Pay-Per-View®.

At midnight (ET/PT), HBO Latino presents a special edition of “HBO Latino Boxing” from the Tropicana Casino Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. Javier Fortuna (24-0-1, 18 KOs) of the Dominican Republic takes on Mexico’s Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-4, 23 KOs) in a super featherweight event scheduled for ten rounds, while Luis Rosa (16-0, 7 KOs) and Luis Orlando Del Valle (18-1, 13 KOs), both of Puerto Rico, open the show with a scheduled ten-round super bantamweight fight. Subscribers can also catch the action with English-language commentary on HBO2 at midnight (ET/PT).

HBO2 and HBO Latino will replay FROCH VS. GROVES II after the action from Las Vegas concludes.

All HBO boxing events are presented in HDTV. HBO viewers must have access to the HBO HDTV channel to watch HBO programming in high definition.

Follow HBO boxing news at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

The executive producer of HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is Rick Bernstein; producer Thomas Odelfelt; director, Johnathan Evans.

®HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is a registered service mark of Home Box Office, Inc.

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: New show May 20






REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 206th edition debuts TUESDAY, MAY 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: May 20 (3:45 a.m.), 23 (12:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m.), 24 (9:45 a.m., 1:45 a.m.), 27 (8:15 a.m., 6:00 p.m.) and 29 (3:45 p.m., 8:00 p.m.), and June 1 (7:30 a.m.) and 5 (1:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: May 22 (11:15 p.m.), 25 (11:45 a.m., 2:00 a.m.) and 28 (9:30 p.m.), and June 4 (7:00 p.m.), 12 (11:05 a.m.), 16 (1:40 p.m.) and 21 (5:10 p.m.)

HBO On Demand® availability: May 21-June 16

Segments include:

*White Elephants. Brazil, which some call the spiritual home of soccer, hosts the 2014 World Cup next month. While millions of fans await the sport’s premier spectacle, hundreds of thousands in Brazil have been protesting excessive spending on the construction of soccer stadiums, some of which they regard as “white elephants,” i.e., mega-event complexes built with the promise of future success and riches, but with limited practical use for the future. The protestors are furious at the vast sums of money spent by the government on world-class stadiums while many in the country suffer from inadequate health care, education and infrastructure. Brazil has constructed 12 stadiums in as many cities at a total cost of $4 billion, and four of those are projected to be white elephants.

South Africa, the previous host of the World Cup, is home to nine white elephants, and Greece, host of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, also has many unused stadiums that are a constant reminder of financial incompetence in the wake of the country’s bankruptcy. REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel traveled to Athens, Greece and Manaus and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to see where this troubling trend began and further examine the issue.

Producer: Jordan Kronick.

*The Buffer Brothers. Michael and Bruce Buffer are two of the most recognizable personalities in combat sports. Michael has bellowed his legendary catchphrase “Let’s get ready to rumble!” at nearly all of the most notable boxing matches of the last 30 years, while brother Bruce is the “Veteran Voice of the Octagon” as the announcer for the UFC. Michael was born to a young couple during World War II and entered foster care in Philadelphia at 11 months old. Never formally adopted, he grew up with the surname Huber, but reassumed his legal last name, Buffer, when he joined the Army at age 20.

When Michael became a fixture on the fight scene, Bruce noticed his own striking resemblance to the well-dressed ring announcer, not to mention sharing the same last name. Working up the courage to ask his father if they were related, Bruce was stunned to learn they were indeed brothers. REAL SPORTS correspondent Soledad O’Brien sits down with the enterprising duo to learn more about this unexpected and inspiring story, and how it led to the birth of the Buffer Partnership.

Producer: Maggie Burbank.

            *Fields of Hate. With the world’s attention focused on the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, REAL SPORTS revisits its Emmy®-winning 2005 expose of racism in elite professional soccer. In the original report, Bryant Gumbel traveled throughout Europe to talk with players such as French national and English Premier League superstar Thierry Henry, revealing blatant fan racism. Today, incidents of racism in European soccer remain all too frequent, and efforts by governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA to eliminate them have had limited success. Gumbel reexamines this hot-button issue with Henry, now a member of the New York Red Bulls, and American star Jozy Altidore, and seeks to find out what is being done to solve this disturbing problem.

Producers: Chapman Downes, Tim Walker, Beret Remak.

REAL SPORTS was the sole sports program recognized by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a 2012 George F. Peabody Award for broadcast excellence. In addition, it is the only sports program ever honored with two duPont Awards, first in 2005 and again in 2012.

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL debuted April 2, 1995 and has gone on to win the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 15 times, receiving 26 Sports Emmy® Awards overall. On May 6, Real Sports captured the Sports Emmy® Award for Outstanding Sports News Anthology for 2013.

Follow REAL SPORTS updates on and Join the conversation on Twitter using #RealSports or visiting @RealSportsHBO. Immediately following the debut of this month’s show on May 20, viewers can log on to for a special overtime session hosted by Bryant Gumbel.

The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.

HBO Sports announces Kareem Abdul-Jabbar documentary




NEW YORK, May 14, 2014 – HBO Sports and Mandalay Sports Media, in association with Iconomy® Multi-Media & Entertainment, have begun production and commenced photography in Los Angeles on a documentary about the life and career of Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, and six-time MVP and world champion.

Scheduled to debut in early 2015 on HBO, the film will be directed by Ron Yassen, produced by Deborah Morales, whose credits include the award-winning documentary “On the Shoulders of Giants,” and executive produced by Mike Tollin, whose credits include the Oscar®-nominated documentary “Hank Aaron: Chasing The Dream,” the hit HBO series “Arli$$” and such feature films as “Coach Carter,” “Radio” and “Varsity Blues.” The documentary on Abdul-Jabbar will spotlight an athlete who had unparalleled impact on and success in basketball, and has journeyed through many controversial and landmark moments over the past 50 years.

“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a legendary figure and an American sports icon,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “While he has lived so much of his life in the media spotlight, his extraordinary story has never been explored in depth, and we are grateful to Kareem and his team for allowing us to bring this story to life.”

Tollin, co-chairman of Mandalay Sports Media, says the film will “reveal the complexity and genius of Kareem both on and off the court. By his own admission, Abdul-Jabbar has had a complicated and occasionally hostile relationship with the media. This is a unique opportunity to tell all sides of his story.”

Ferdinand Lewis (Lew) Alcindor, Jr. was born in New York City in 1947. After leading his high school team to three consecutive New York City Catholic championships, the 7’1” Alcindor headed west to play for John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins, where he dominated college basketball like never before. Alcindor was a two-time Player of the Year (1967, 1969) and a three-time First-Team All-American (1967-69), setting multiple UCLA records, including highest scoring average (29 points per game) and most points in a single game (61). During his three years on the UCLA varsity team, Alcindor and the Bruins were 88-2 and won three consecutive NCAA Championships.

He remains the only player in history to be named Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament three years in a row and received the first Naismith College Player of the Year Award. After the slam dunk was banned, Alcindor crafted one of the most remarkable collegiate careers in history with his signature skyhook shot. But he was also no stranger to controversy, and did not shy away from taking an unpopular stand when he felt compelled to address cultural and political issues.

Drafted No. 1 overall by the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and the ABA’s New York Nets in 1969, Alcindor opted for the NBA, where he captured Rookie of the Year honors in 1970. In 1971, he continued his winning ways alongside newly acquired guard Oscar Robertson, and won the NBA Championship, as well as his first NBA scoring title, NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP.

After winning the NBA Championship, Alcindor officially changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The NBA superstar attributed the name change to his family’s lineage from slavery and the importance of Islamic tradition during that trying time in American history.

In 1974, he requested a trade to a more diverse market and went to the Los Angeles Lakers, where the future NBA Hall of Famer became world-renowned, later pairing with Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr., the first overall draft pick in 1979. During the ensuing era, the Lakers became one of the most famous and glamorous teams in NBA history. Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers won five of their eight appearances in the NBA Finals. In 1989, after playing 20 professional seasons and scoring 38,387 points, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s successes didn’t end with his playing days. He has never been shy about speaking candidly on a wide variety of subjects and expanding his intellectual and personal horizons beyond the hardwood. Abdul-Jabbar has appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies, often lampooning his own persona, as in memorable cameos in “Airplane!” and “Game of Death,” Bruce Lee’s final film. He has also written eight books, four of them New York Times bestsellers. In Jan. 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appointed him a Cultural Ambassador for the United States.

Abdul-Jabbar’s personal journey dovetails with an explosive period in American history. He was – and remains – equipped with a unique and remarkable perspective through which to interpret the past half-century of the country’s narrative. This film will provide an intimate glimpse at Abdul-Jabbar through incisive interviews and rare archival footage.

Noted for its unique storytelling ability, HBO Sports has collected 33 Sports Emmy® Awardsfor production excellence in the documentary genre and has won the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Documentary in five of the last seven years.


About Mandalay Sports Media

Launched in 2012 by Peter Guber’s Mandalay Entertainment and producer Mike Tollin, MSM is a diversified sports content and media company that creates high-quality, sports-themed programming for all platforms and creates, acquires and invests in businesses and assets across the sports content and media landscape. Since its founding, MSM has produced and is producing content for ESPN, CBS, FOX, The NFL, Xbox Entertainment Studios, Turner Sports, Yahoo, VICE and AOL, among others, with numerous projects in development with major television, digital, feature film and sports entities. Learn more at

About Iconomy® Multi-Media & Entertainment

Iconomy® Multi-Media and Entertainment is excited to collaborate with premium cable network HBO to bring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s fascinating life to fans and home viewers everywhere. Iconomy® develops, produces, distributes and manages multi-media channels in film, publishing deals, music and audio sound tracks, as well as special events, for a select group of high-profile clients. This includes generating and signing lucrative endorsement deals with national and international brands and entities and raising capital for (as well as directing and producing) critically acclaimed documentaries.


HBO Sports Receives Five Sports Emmy Awards

hbo-logoWinners were announced tonight at the 35th Annual Sports Emmy® Awards in New York City.

HBO® collected five Sports Emmy Awards, tied for second-highest among individual networks.

Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Cincinnati Bengals, in conjunction with NFL Films, took home three awards. The Hard Knocks franchise has earned 11 Sports Emmy Awards since launching in 2001.

24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic and Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel each captured one award. The “24/7” has now earned 18 total Sports Emmy Awards since launching in 2007, while Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel extends its all-time total to 26 awards.

Below are the five Sports Emmy Award wins for HBO:











For a complete list of wins go to

The 35th Sports Emmy Award winners were revealed May 6, 2014 in New York City at the Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Center.


HBO Boxing After Dark: May 24 — Jennings vs. Perez, Geale vs. Macklin; June 14 — Provodnikov vs. Algieri, Andrade vs. Rose




HBO’s hit late-night boxing franchise returns for a sizzling Memorial Day weekend doubleheader when HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: BRYANT JENNINGS VS. MIKE PEREZ AND DANIEL GEALE VS. MATTHEW MACKLIN is seen SATURDAY, MAY 24 at 10:00 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, exclusively on HBO. The HBO Sports team will be ringside for the event, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.

Other HBO playdates: May 25 (8:00 a.m.) and 27 (12:30 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: May 25 (3:30 p.m.) and 26 (1:15 a.m.)

Unbeaten competitors headline the feature event, as Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings (18-0, 10 KOs) meets Cuban native Mike Perez (20-0-1, 12 KOs), now of Cork, Ireland, in a 12-round heavyweight title elimination bout. The agile 29-year-old Jennings routinely dominates his opponents, and has lately elevated his performance, forcing the referees to halt his last four fights, three of them before the sixth round. In late January, against the rugged, undefeated Artur Szpilka, Jennings’ bodywork hampered his opponent, nearly sending him to the canvas in the tenth before the official’s stoppage.

Perez, 28, warrants respect as he continues to rise to the top of the heavyweight division.  Scoring a draw in mid-January against Carlos Takam in his last HBO appearance, he expects a different outcome this time, aiming for another notch on his undefeated belt.

Veteran middleweight contenders return to HBO to open the night when Daniel Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) of Mount Annan, New South Wales, Australia squares off against Matthew Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs), the fighting pride of Birmingham, West Midlands, UK, in a 160-pound tilt scheduled for ten rounds. Despite flooring Darren Barker in the sixth round of their compelling Aug. 2013 title match, the 33-year-old Geale came up short on the judges’ final scorecards. However, he rebounded from the second loss of his career by battering Garth Wood, prompting his opponent’s corner to retire. In his second appearance on HBO, the Australian intends to confirm his position as his country’s top fighter.

Macklin, 31, has tested the most-skilled pugilists in the 160-pound division —including Sergio Martinez, Gennady Golovkin and Felix Sturm – like nobody else. His depth of experience, along with a unanimous decision last December against the then-undefeated Lamar Russ, should give him unwavering confidence against any competitor.

“Face Off with Max Kellerman: Cotto vs. Martinez” debuts immediately following the doubleheader (midnight-12:15 a.m.), kicking off a slate of original programming dedicated to the June 7 HBO Pay-Per-View showdown between Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden.

Follow HBO boxing news at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at

All HBO boxing events are presented in HDTV. HBO viewers must have access to the HBO HDTV channel to watch HBO programming in high definition.

The executive producer of HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is Rick Bernstein; producer, Dave Harmon; director, Johnathan Evans.

® HBO BOXING AFTER DARK is a registered service mark of Home Box Office, Inc.

Real Sports returns Tuesday







REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most honored sports journalism series, continues its 20th season with more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 205th edition debuts TUESDAY, APRIL 22 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: April 22 (2:45 a.m.), 24 (3:00 p.m.) and 28 (10:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m., 12:30 a.m.), and May 2 (11:00 a.m.), 3 (10:30 a.m.), 14 (5:00 p.m., 4:40 a.m.) and 18 (8:00 a.m.)

HBO2 playdates: April 25 (10:45 a.m., 8:30 p.m.), 27 (1:15 p.m., 12:50 a.m.) and 30 (4:00 p.m., 4:00 a.m.), and May 6 (noon, 8:00 p.m.), 12 (11:00 p.m.) and 17 (10:15 a.m.)

HBO On Demand® availability: April 23-May 19

Segments include:

*NBA on TNT. It’s the most unpredictable, freewheeling and politically incorrect studio sports show on TV. The studio portion of “NBA on TNT” had its genesis in 2000 when the network landed former NBA star Charles Barkley, whose continued loyalty has enabled it to flourish. Ernie Johnson serves as the host and referee as analysts Barkley, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Shaquille O’Neal debate sports, history, art and politics while reviewing the games at hand. It’s both the NBA’s longest-running coverage program, as well as TNT’s most-tenured show. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg goes behind the scenes with the all-star crew at TNT’s Atlanta headquarters as the NBA playoffs approach.

Producer: Tim Walker.

*Fallon Fox. Boyd Burton was born into a conservative religious family in Toledo, Ohio, in 1975. Nearly 30 years later, after extended struggles with sexual identity issues, he underwent gender-reassignment surgery, and assumed the name Fallon Fox. Since turning pro in mixed martial arts 2012 and being outed by a reporter in 2013, Fox, 38, is now the most prominent transgender athlete in professional sports and a reluctant trailblazer for the transgender community. The reaction from the MMA community has largely been hostile, with many fans and fighters opposing her participation in the women’s divisions because they believe her male attributes provide an unfair advantage. Despite the scrutiny, Fox continues to fight. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated segment, correspondent Mary Carillo goes one-on-one with Fox to learn about her struggles for acceptance and legitimacy in a sport where many still view her as a man.

Producer: Jake Rosenwasser.

            *Producing Perfection. The Westminster Dog Show is one of the country’s oldest sporting events, and certainly the most adorable, but more than 20,000 dog shows are held nationwide each year. While the sport’s growth is a boon for fervent dog lovers, it may not be as rewarding to some of the dogs themselves. During competition, animals are judged on how closely they represent the “breed standard,” and some critics say this leads to the questionable breeding of dogs for beauty over health. Soledad O’Brien leads this REAL SPORTS examination of the world of competitive dog shows and the sport’s repercussions on dog health, in and outside the show ring.

Producer: Jason Samuels.

            *Long May You Run. Introduced to REAL SPORTS viewers in Mary Carillo’s Sports Emmy®-winning 2005 segment, New Englanders Dick Hoyt and his son Rick have given new meaning to the term “family bond.” Rick was born in 1962 after a complicated labor in which a coiled umbilical cord cut off oxygen to his brain. Rejecting doctors’ recommendations to institutionalize him, the Hoyts were committed to raising their son as normally as possible, believing Rick had a healthy mind despite his physical handicaps. With the help of Tufts University, which developed cutting-edge technology allowing Rick to communicate through head movements, the Hoyts discovered he was a natural sports fan. In 1977, Dick pushed his son’s wheelchair through a five-mile benefit run and found the race gave Rick the miraculous feeling of being able-bodied. Dick subsequently dedicated his life to giving his son that experience as often as possible, and the two have been regulars at road races and triathlons ever since.

After more than 30 years of competition, when Dick’s body could no longer take the pounding, they decided to retire from longer endurance races. Intending to finish in 2013 where they began, at the Boston Marathon, the Hoyts were unable to complete the run when bombs exploded. This year, joined by REAL SPORTS correspondent Mary Carillo, they’ll be back in Massachusetts to finish their final Boston Marathon.

Producers: Nisreen Habbal, Joe Perskie.

REAL SPORTS was the sole sports program recognized by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication with a 2012 George F. Peabody Award for broadcast excellence. In addition, it is the only sports program ever honored with two duPont Awards, first in 2005 and again in 2012.

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL debuted April 2, 1995 and has gone on to win the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 15 times, receiving 25 Sports Emmy® Awards overall.

Follow REAL SPORTS updates on and, or join the conversation on Twitter using #RealSports. Immediately following the debut of this month’s show on April 22, viewers can log on to for a special overtime session hosted by Bryant Gumbel.

The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.